I Didnt Fall, I Was Pushed: Triumphant Recovery from Clergy Sex Abuse
Also, Mueller said, Geoghan was insisting they tell no one. Mueller testified that she immediately took the boys to see Rev. Paul E. Miceli, a parish priest at St. It will never happen again. He said he did not recall her name, and never received a visit of the sort she described. But Miceli acknowledged receiving a call from a woman saying Geoghan was spending too much time with her children. Miceli testified that the caller said nothing about sexual abuse. In her hardscrabble neighborhood, she said in an interview, she hoped there was a priest the children could look up to.
Then she met Geoghan, who oversaw altar boys and Boy Scouts at the parish. Geoghan, she recalled bitterly, was eager to help. Before long, he was visiting her apartment almost every evening - for nearly two years. He routinely took the seven boys out for ice cream and put them to sleep at night. But all that time, Geoghan regularly molested the seven boys in their bedrooms, Dussourd said. In some cases, he performed oral sex on them, according to court documents.
Other times, he fondled their genitals or forced them to fondle his - occasionally as he prayed. Dussourd discovered what was happening after the children finally told her sister, Margaret Gallant.
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Horrified, Dussourd complained to the Rev. John E. Thomas, the pastor of St.
Thomas Aquinas, a nearby parish, according to court documents and accounts by Dussourd and a church official who asked that he not be identified. Thomas confronted Geoghan with the allegations, and was taken aback when Geoghan casually admitted they were accurate. Thomas immediately drove to archdiocesan offices in Brighton to notify Daily. Geoghan protested, saying there was no one else to celebrate the 4 p.
The Rev. Francis H. Thomas, echoing a tack common among clerics at the time, later pleaded with Dussourd not to follow through on her threat to go public, she said. He cited the years Geoghan had spent studying for the priesthood, and the consequences for Geoghan if the accusations against him were publicized. Thomas, who is now retired, declined to be interviewed. Geoghan spent the following year on sick leave, under treatment for his compulsion, but living with family in West Roxbury. In February , he was sent to his fifth parish, St. But over time, some parishioners became suspicious.
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Lane, the teacher said, was so devastated that he broke down when he told her the news. And, she said, he was incensed that he had not been warned.
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Lane is now retired. In the court filing, Law went on to say he then notified Geoghan that he was being removed from St. Despite his record, Geoghan was assigned to St. A copy of the letter contains a redacted paragraph, an apparent reference to the Rev. Nicholas Driscoll, who confirmed last week that he had been removed from St.
Retired Monsignor Francis S. Three years later, Geoghan was still seeking out victims, allegedly including an altar boy donning vestments for a christening ceremony, according to the criminal charges. The shuttling of Geoghan from one parish to another created a devastating coincidence for one family. One boy he allegedly molested is the son of a man who had been among the many sexually abused by Porter during the s in the Fall River Diocese, according to Roderick MacLeish Jr.
View Comments. Former priest John J. He is not paid by the Diocese of Lincoln; his role of chaplain provides him only room and board. Bishop Finn has not ever been accused of sexual abuse of children. The anger of former abuse victims or their relatives is understandable.
Their pain is real, and the Church has an on-going duty to help them heal. But those who have acknowledged and paid the penalty for past actions, who seek to serve in humility, and who pose no on-going danger to anyone, have a right not be harassed and disparaged once justice is served. To do otherwise is not justice; it is malice. And it is not worthy of our community.
Again, legalism! Finn served two years probation on his conviction. Finn has expanded his ministry in Lincoln, having given a retreat for catechists , and, I am told, doing confirmations. Why is it harassment and disparagement to say so? I have no doubt that Bishop Conley believes the latter. But then, as we have seen over these last years, clericalism, to borrow a concept from Jonathan Haidt, binds bishops and priests into teams, but also blinds them to reality.
What is the role of theological orientation in all this? I wrote last week about how startling it was to see leader of the Napa Institute, a conservative Catholic organization, issue a strong call to holiness and episcopal accountability while at the same time hosting the failed Archbishop John Nienstedt, who left Minneapolis in disgrace over sex abuse-related corruption in his archdiocese.
Nienstedt is a conservative, which apparently covers a multitude of sins and failures in some eyes. Finn really had done a lot of good in Kansas City when he first arrived, making the diocese more orthodox — a fact that magnifies the tragedy of his Ratigan failure, but does not obviate it. Ratigan was himself a theological conservative, which makes one wonder if that had anything to do with the kid gloves with which Bishop Finn treated him. Similarly, the fact that Bishop Conley is such a strong conservative, admirable in many ways, magnifies, but does not obviate, his recently exposed failures in Lincoln.
The damage is done not by victims and critics telling the truth, but by the efforts to conceal for the alleged good of the Church. Though I had written about his involvement in the Ratigan case, I had forgotten about it until researching today. In , I was tipped off that Dr. I was told that he was one of the group of Americans who warned the Vatican not to move McCarrick, because he was a molester.
I phoned Dr. Fitzgibbons in Philly back then to ask him if he had been on this trip. All of this about McCarrick could have come out in , and been dealt with, had Fitzgibbons, among others, cared more about truth and accountability than shielding the cardinal from the consequences of his moral drunkenness.
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Moreover, Sodano is active despite his age, and is widely seen in Rome as exercising significant behind-the-scenes influence through an extended network of friends and proteges, especially in the Secretariat of State. No charges were filed because the porn turned out to be legal.
But a police report was filed, and RCF investigators obtained a copy of it. Brady recalls:. In November , RCF sent one page of the police report to parishioners at both parishes and included a cover letter, which stated in part :. Once you read the enclosed information, I am sure you will understand the need to write. RCF believes, as the Church teaches, in the infinite value of each and every soul.
Any bishop who would place such a priest in a position of authority at a parish or school is not fit to be a bishop. He shows a complete disregard for the souls of the unsuspecting faithful. It is with great sadness that I write to you today. Anthony Pileggi cooperated fully with an inquiry conducted by the Missouri Highway Patrol last spring. In consultation with my advisors and Fr. Because of my care and concern for everyone involved, Fr. Pileggi will no longer be your pastor and will leave the parish. Strangely enough, I wrote about this in on this site , in a post asking when a clergyman should lose their position.
That post began:. My view is that even if a cleric who does that repents and is restored to full communion, he still should not be in ministry. How can he be taken seriously as a spiritual leader after that? Should one forgive him and receive him back as a fellow sinner and communicant of the Church? Yes, absolutely, no question. But not as a deacon, or as a priest. To whom much is given, much is expected.
We ought not to expect our priests and deacons to be perfect, but when they commit serious sins that speak to a graver disorder impairing their Church ministry, they rightly lose the confidence of the faithful. The primate of my church, Metropolitan Jonah, was wrong to have signed off on this when he was in charge of the Diocese of the South — though to his credit, he later tried to reverse it when this was pointed out to him.
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The bishop who currently has authority over this situation, Bishop Nikon of Boston locum tenens of the Diocese of the South , is aware of it, and has done nothing. But where do you draw the line? I believe use of pornography is one. In Australia there is a National Redress Scheme whereby victims can receive monetary compensation for crimes against them.
But there are few, if any, formal programmes intended to reduce the amount of abuse rather than compensate victims. Last year all of the Roman Catholic bishops in Chile offered their resignations over a child sexual abuse scandal, but we haven't found a report that the resignations were accepted or that much has changed in Chile.
We are optimistic that the current round of official government investigations and reports will lead to some sort of action. It might be moving too slowly to notice, but if we re-visit this issue in 5 years we hope to find evidence of progress. Instantaneous and anonymous global communication Facebook, Twitter, 4chan, It probably does. But there seems to be a bright side here.
Half a century ago, when researchers at MIT created an online fake therapist named Eliza , one of the undisputed research findings was that people were more willing to type intimate personal details into the computer than to speak them to a human therapist. A common finding of most of the study commissions we mentioned was that children were usually too timid to report abuse to authorities, or didn't know how to find authorities.
Perhaps the same anonymous global communication that nurtures neo-Nazi groups and mass shooters can partially redeem itself by providing a safe means for abused children to report their abuse. As long as they don't accidentally report abuse to neo-Nazis, it will probably help move the world forward. All of us at Anglicans Online.